Brace yourself for a harrowing time ahead. Come October 20 and thousands of auto-rickshaws may go off the road in the state capital.
The Jharkhand Pradesh Diesel Auto Chalak Mahasangh has threatened to launch an indefinite strike, if their demands are not met during their forthcoming meeting with Ranchi deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey.
The outfit’s members on Wednesday met to decide their next course of action, in case the talks on October 18 fail.
Association president Dinesh Soni said that Choubey has convened the meeting on October 18 to discuss the issues affecting the auto-rickshaw operators and look into the demands of the various auto associations.
“Today’s discussion, where Ranchi MP Subodh Kant Sahay was also present, was in view of the upcoming meeting,” Soni said.
He added that the auto operators unanimously decided that if talks with Choubey were not fruitful, they would go on an indefinite strike from October 20.
“It has been our long-pending demand that all the auto-rickshaws that ply on different routes in the city as well as on the outskirts be granted permits. However, the administration is dilly-dallying. If the deputy commissioner this time does not give words on this, we will launch the stir,” Soni said.
Notably, around 9,000 diesel auto-rickshaws had remained off the road from September 20 to 23 over some half a dozen demands. The Auto Chalak Mahasangh members had also staged hunger strike to put pressure on the district administration.
In the absence of autos, city commuters had faced horrific days.
Hundreds of people were noticed waiting at crossings and roundabouts around the city for auto-rickshaws, which were rare.
Though around 500-600 petrol auto-rickshaws and 65 city buses were plying, the numbers were too small to make up for the absence of 9,000 diesel autos.
The strike was called off after Choubey had promised all support to address the problem of auto-rickshaws plying without valid permits.
At present, only 2,335 autos have valid permits to operate in the city.